PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma says the controversy around freedom songs shows that South Africa has not yet effectively dealt with issues ofhistory and heritage.
Zuma was addressing the inhabitants of the white informal settlement of Bethlehem, west of Pretoria, during his revisit of the area yesterday.
He visited the informal settlement two years ago and was shocked to learn that there were white people living in poverty.
Zuma said people should respect each other's history and heritage and must make social cohesion a toppriority.
He said South Africans must have a national discussion on a common heritage to reach a common understanding and tolerance of one another's culture and history.
"The discussion will educate our children not to allow anyone in future to take this country on the route of pain and mayhem again.
"If we fail to address issues of social cohesion and heritage there will be an outcry each time we need to change a street or town name or to put a statue somewhere. We must make social cohesion as important as providing access to water, electricity and roads," Zuma said.
The president said his presence at the informal settlement was a confirmation that "we are a government that is committed to all South Africans regardless of colour, race or creed".
Zuma said the Constitution guaranteed that government services would be provided to all South Africans, irrespective of their race.
"It is our country, we have to work together to make it work and succeed. Service delivery has no colour. For as long as there are people who suffer the indignity of poverty in our country this government will not rest," he said.
The last time Zuma visited the informal settlement in 2008 theresidents asked for a mobile clinic, which now provides healthcare services once a month.
The South African Social Security Agency was also present to register people who qualify for social grants.